Appraisal District Tug of War - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/24/04

Appraisal District Tug of War

"The old adage you can't fight city hall? T'aint true baby, go get it," said Robert Welch.

The homeowner took off the gloves at the Lubbock Central Appraisal District, appealing, for the second year in a row, what he perceived as the inflated value of his property. "They weren't as receptive this time to my point of view," he said.

Last year the board knocked off $7,000; this year, just $1,000. The difference in property value? "And now then it's $78,058," said Welch.

A higher appraisal, a higher tax. Welch will have to pay an additional $247. On top of that increase, news that the appraisal district is asking for a $260,000 bump in its budget. Officials say its needed to handle the workload. 13,000 new homes and businesses in the past five years. Even so, some city councilman are vehemently opposed to any budget increase at all.

"I intend to make 'em do without," said Councilman Gary Boren. He says the appraisal district hasn't performed well enough to deserve a budget increase, and that the office is not user friendly. "They've been arrogant. 25% increase the last three years. Some 40 to 50% in some neighborhoods, and I think they pretty much have said, 'In your face, that's the way it is.' Well, I hope to put in their face, 'You're not going to get it,'" said Boren.

As for Welch, he's decided to stomach the new value of his house, and singed into memory a comment made by the appeals board. "I won't forget his quote, that I'll never have to sell my home for less than its appraised for. I want him to be around if I have to sell," Welch smiled.

For 63,000 property owners the deadline has passed to appeal their appraisals, but another 13,000 still have time. Check the date at the bottom of your appraisal statement to know if it's too late for you to appeal.

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